April 21, 2014

To Become Cautiously Aquatinted


I've never considered myself one of Delia Derbyshire's loyal, diehard followers. I've always thought that I was just sort of vaguely interested in her. But for years now I've been reading articles, listening to music and interviews... I think that little by little we're actually become pretty close. We're both a little shy and socially awkward so I can understand it taking so long. But anyway, just today I was listening to an interview and she said:
"The 60's was a lovely blooming time but something happened in the 70's which made it not right. The world went out of tune with itself. The BBC was out of tune with itself. London went wrong, the country went wrong- the world! There was something that went wrong, to me, everything was out of tune in the world. So I fled the BBC and I thought I'd go as far north in England as I can. "

It really struck me. I've always felt like the world must have gone wrong in many ways around that time. I've never been able to describe exactly how, and even as she fumbled over her own description; "out of tune with itself" seems to really hit the nail on the head.

Delia, I can finally say that you and I are without a doubt kindred spirits.




April 13, 2014

I Love Delia Derbyshire!


Has anyone else noticed all the  people on the internet professing their love for Delia Derbyshire with a photo of Suzanna Ciani?  ... It somehow makes me doubt their love. 

April 11, 2014

Easter in Connecticut



Peter and I are going to Connecticut next weekend to visit his family for Easter. I'm really looking forward to it. We've gone out there the past couple years and we usually get a little carried away with the egg decorating - it gets a little competitive. 


April 10, 2014

Analog Heaven Midwest Meetup 2014




Last weekend I flew to Chicago and David and I drove out to Indianna for the 2014 Analog Heaven Midwest Meetup. Our friends Jon and Andrew were going and included us on an email thread making their plans to go. I had that weekend free so I though "sure, why not?". David and I had never been to one of these events before so we didn't really know what to expect. I had been to that "voltage control fair" they had in New York a while back as part of the Source of Uncertanty festival. But that was venders trying to sell you something. This AH meetup was another thing entirely. No one peddling their wares, just a bunch of really enthusiastic synthesizer... enthuseists. And in keeping with the spirit of such a public event, it took place in the library of a public school. 

Everyone there was super friendly and we all just spent hours and hours (eight hours?!) going around the room and playing with stuff. At one point David and I felt like our heads were about to explode so we took a walk. We ended up finding a greenhouse and took the liberty of letting our selves in. Greenhouses really are lovely.

So, let's talk about these photos shall we? The first photo in the above collage is a sort of general picture of the whole even from as far back as I could get. The second is Jon and David working with an Arp Axxe, SEM, and Roland MC-8 (thing David brought), struggling a little to get the pitch to track properly. The third photo is David playing a very old R. A. Moog version of the minimoog. Ever since I've known David he's had a thing for minimoogs, so I was glad to snap this pic. 

Fourth photo is David playing and Oberheim Two Voice, which is essentially two SEMs put together with a keyboard. He's having a really nice time playing it as you can see! The fifth photo is Jon holding a little clapping device, sort of an updated version of the clap trap. The sixth photo is Andrew tryin' out one of those new Buchla music easels. I may have mentioned before that I was pretty interested in this little Buchla when it was first announced that it'd be reissued but then was kind of turned off when they subsequently announced the price (yikes!). I played with this one a little too, I liked it but wasn't quite convinced it was for me.

After the meetup was over... it wasn't over. We all went out to dinner together and after that we all went back to the hotel and hung out until the wee hours of the night, having a couple drinks and still talking about analog synthesizers - I guess that's why they call it Analog Heaven.

The last photo is all of us together at the hotel the next morning. Jon and David thought it would be funny to wear shirts of my old (and I do mean old!) band Polaris. The trip was totally a blast I'm so glad I went and I'm so glad that I have these three friends to geek out with and get excited about stuff that no one else understands. They are all such a blessing! I don't know that the AH Midwest meetup will be a yearly event for me, but I'm certain it won't be my last!

UPDATE: just uploaded a hi-res version of the above photo, so you can click on it and see what's join on. And this video just turned up, if you'd really like to get a feel for what the day was like:




EMS Putney (VCS3) iPad Ap



I'm not really qualified to give a proper review of an iPad app. I don't use them when I record music but I'm in Colombia this weekend so I installed it to have something to entertain myself with on the flight down. I have downloaded a few synthesizer and theremin apps -- usually for the same purpose of an alternate form of entertInment on long flights. So I have a rough idea of what makes a good app and what makes a poor one. I'd say this is a good one, perhaps the best I've seen yet. The interface looks beautiful. You can see instantly that great care was put into the look of this thing. 

How does it sound? Pretty good! The spring reverb sounds great and legit and the thing distorts at times when I'd assume a real vcs3 would. One thing I did notice is that when you bend the pitch with the joy stick really fast it sounds pretty digital. 

One reason I've always been interest in this synthesizer (and any other synthesizer that poseses one - Arp 2500, etc) is that peg board. It's such a rare thing... I've never used one in real life. Lately I've found myself searching the internet for a moderately priced synthesizer that has one of these peg boards. So far I've found nothing. Let me know if you know of any! But sticking these little digital pins in the board on this app is fun. It's true experimentation (if you don't know what you're doing -- like me. If you do know what you're doing, the above screen shot probably looks like utter nonsense).

So, for anyone that does use apps to create music and/or enjoys a bit of time travel, I would recommend giving this one a whirl.



April 3, 2014

It's Finally Happened...

I saw Kraftwerk perform tonight. I've been a fan since I was a kid, have all their records and always wanted to see them, but it's always seemed impossible to get tickets (in this city!). But some how it happened this time. Jonathan and I went together. We had a lovely time. I've heard (I'm sure you have too) about how boring Kraftwerk can be live. Well, this show was sort of special... it was in 3D! That's right, 3D glasses and everything. I feel like I waited till just the right time to see them.